"We got a number and politely informed them that we would be playing" - The Rise of Sa-da-Ko

From local pubs to one of the UK's leading metal festivals, the lads from Southport tell Metal as Fuck the story behind the gore

Sa-da-Ko have spent some time bringing their blend of Japanese gore and 21st Century metal to their native North West England. With extensive legwork and a self-produced EP already under it's belt, the Sa-da-Ko monster had it's sights set on bigger and better things..namely Hammerfest 2011.

"We basically got a number to phone and politely informed them that we would be playing", says vocalist Jim.

Having charmed their way onto the bigest stage of their career, the Sa-da-Ko conglomerate had to deliver something special on the day. After all, us metal fans are a difficult breed to please. Jim continues;

"There were quite a few people waiting for us to go on but by the time we had finished we had gathered quite a crowd. Sometimes its hard to tell how a crowd is going to go but these guys loved every minuite of it. It was fucking awesome; not just playing but just being there was exciting"

Guitarist Steve "Simo" Simpson agrees;

"Weve never really had the chance to go before and it was a real honor to have played somewhere like this. It's great when you get this sort of feedback because it pushes you to play better and get into it more. It seemed like we had converted a few more to the Sa-da-Ko brood on the day."

It all began back in the North Eastern coastal town of Southport for Sa-da-Ko, when Jim leant his voice to some tracks that Simo had been working on. Soon joined by drummer Gregzilla, lead guitarist JaY and bassist RoB, Sa-da-Ko felt they were in a position to unleash their brand of hybrid metal upon the world.

"We gradually became aware that we were being selfish confining the terror to the home studio and took that show on the road!" says Jim.

With the lineup complete and extensive local gigging under their belt, the Japanese horror-inspired EP Zero1 was released under their own steam in 2010. Sa-da-Ko is actually the name of the gnarly dead woman who emerges from the TV set in cult Japanese classic film The Ring, and song titles such as Ju-On and Li continue the Oriental theme. As none of the band have a shred of Japanese in them, what is it about this part of the world that inspires the band?

"Fit Japanese girls with Samurai swords!" says Jim. Simo embellishes.

"I like the fact that its so different to the west; the myths, legends, culture and music has been something that I have found really inspiring, plus I'm a geek at heart I love the horror films, manga, art and everything else about the east."

Whilst some bands have successfully carried a motif throughout their musical career, are Sa-da-Ko concerned that the music buying public will think the Japanese themes are a bit of a gimmick, and consequently not take the quintet seriously as a metal band? 

"I can see how people would view it like that but its something we found that sat with the band and the inital project we started quite well," says Simo. "We truly beleive that there is substance and something originial in what we do and that gimmicks aside, it's the music that will be the longevity of the band."

A fascination with the Orient is very much an underlying theme in Sa-da-Ko's music. What is also obvious is how much metal in recent years has inspired this band, with shades of Lamb of God, Fear Factory and to a degree, Atreyu all coming through on Zero1. This is no real suprise as the boys tell Metal as Fuck that the tour bus stereo blasts everything from Frank Sinatra to hip hop to Gojira to black metal to unsigned British band Subservience, with whom Sa-da-Ko recently recorded a split EP. It's not all fun and games on the bus though; being an unsigned band is anything but easy:

"The biggest thing is you're pretty much on your own," says Jim, "you have to be like a large company that is desperately understaffed, so you have to learn how to market, book gigs, be your own art dept, be a mechanic; its hard but its good."

And the hard work is paying off. Hammerfest aside, Sa-da-Ko's thoroughly brutal cover of Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince's Boom Shake The Room found it's way to an editorial mention in market-leading publication Metal Hammer, as well as receiving a play on the Metal Hammer podcast and getting plastered all over the Metal Hammer website, Facebook page, and everywhere else they could feasibly share it.

"It was a big song as we were growing up and its one of those songs everyone knows across the board, so we thought we would dirt on it!" says Simo, "plus Jim knew all the words."

With the Subservience split EP wrapped up (available for download via iTunes et al), 2011 and beyond are looking busy for the Sa-da-Ko boys. Despite having their detractors, their unrivalled work ethic means they're starting to gain some major traction across the UK. A second album is planned for the end of 2011 and extensive tour dates are in the calendar. There are some major pressures facing the band and with all this hard work in front of them, what's the Sa-da-Ko dream?

"For Jim it's probably nailing hot Japanese chicks with Samurai swords," laughs Simo, "and we'd all be okay with that. But really the dream is for the band to carry on to a point where we shit on our bosses desks and do what we love full time."